What happened in Kolkata a couple of days ago was the result of excessive patronage bestowed on lumpen elements by all parties in the state. A mob of 60, consisting equally of men and women and led by a woman, entered a police station in the heart of the city, manhandled officers on duty and made them release two rowdies they had arrested for creating disturbance near a famous movie hall in a posh locality not far from the police station. The mob abused the policemen and held officers by their collar before forcing them to release the detainees. All the while, the group of policemen in the thana neither opposed them nor called help from police headquarters.
There was a huge uproar and the police headquarters were surprised at this anarchy. The administration was also shaken up. The cops of the Kolkata south division swung into action and arrested four persons, including the woman who led the mob, by identifying them from CCTV footage. The Trinamool Congress warned its local-level leaders from interfering with the due process of law or providing patronage to rowdies. The party said that it had given a free hand to the police to take action against the culprits. Accused of playing vote bank politics by protecting slum-dwellers, the party said that there is no correlation between administration and vote bank and the party will not protect those who indulge in such anarchy.
But the damage has been done. It is vote bank politics and political patronage, right from the time when the Left Front ruled Bengal for over three decades, that has resulted in the lumpenization of politics in the state. Be it an accident or moral policing, these elements come out of the woodwork and create a disturbance. They know that the politicians will protect them in return of their votes. Their bravado has to be seen to be believed. They do not fear even the police or other security agencies. It cannot come without political support. It is good that the TMC has categorically stated that police have a free hand to deal with such cases. Senior party leader Partha Chatterjee said "this is unacceptable. How can people enter a police station and attack the officers on duty? There should be strict and exemplary action against the offenders to prevent the repeat of such things." He is absolutely correct. Otherwise, the state will be taken over by anarchists.
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